NORTH MANCHESTER –  The Manchester University football team will open the 2019 season on Thursday against Trine University.  Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. at Burt Memorial Stadium.

Thursday's game will be Community Night and all North Manchester residents will receive free admission to the game. Additionally, with the theme of mental health awareness, both Manchester and Trine will be wearing lime green shoelaces during Thursday's contest.

 Thursday's Matchup

• The Spartans and Thunder will meet for the 14th time in the overall series that dates back to 2006.

• The Thunder lead the all-time series 11-2 and won last year's matchup in Angola by a final score of 55-7.

• Manchester's last win against Trine came in 2006 when the Spartans won 26-22.

Manchester News, Notes  

 • Manchester was selected fifth in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Preseason Coach-es' Poll released last week. The Spartans earned 28 points in the poll.

• MU has five returners on the offensive side of the ball that were named "Players to Watch" by the HCAC (QB Alex Downard, RB Donavan Henderson, Jr., WRs Austin Roberts and Harrington Greer, and OL Connor Bettis).

• Defensively, the Spartans had three "Players to Watch" (LB Justin Thomas, DB Nick Tillman and DE Nolan Sipe).

• Senior RB Donavan Henderson, Jr. rushed for school records of 1,268 yards and 17 touchdowns last season.  Henderson, Jr. is the school's all-time leader in rushing touchdowns with 33 and is just 863 yards shy of breaking Dan Taylor's career rushing record of 3,122 yards set back in the 1970s.

Trine News, Notes

 • Trine will look to earn a third consecutive trip to the NCAA Division III Playoffs this season.  

• Winners of the last two Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA) Championships, the Thunder were picked second in the MIAA Preseason Coaches' Poll released last month.

• D3Football.com released its annual Top 25 Preseason Poll on August 8.  The Thunder finished just outside the top 25, clocking in at No. 26.  TU was receiving votes and garnered 73 points in the poll.